Escapes: Pair food with nature in Tahoe


All things culinary

Usher in harvest season early with the 29th annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food & Wine Festival starting Friday. Chefs and winemakers offer three packed days of seminars, demonstrations, competitions, tastings and other culinary events.

Though most of the tastings and classes require tickets, some events are complimentary, and throughout the weekend, local chefs will have free demos. The Gourmet Marketplace Vendor Fair features local treats, kitchen gadgets, art and more.

Taking advantage of its location, the festival also holds some events that pair food with scenery, such as a guided hike with tastings of craft beer and creative spins on trail mix. The festival concludes with the Culinary Competition & Grand Tasting, in which leading chefs create dishes paired with wines, spirits and beers. Tickets cost $75 in advance and $95 the day of. All events take place at the Northstar California Resort, 100 Northstar Drive, Truckee.


Balloon spectacle

What: The Great Reno Balloon Race purports to be the world’s largest free hot-air ballooning event. Up to 100 balloons create a bright rainbow for more than 150,000 spectators.

When: Friday through next Sunday

Where: Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, 1595 N. Sierra St., Reno.

Cost: Free



Art and wine

What: The 43rd annual Mountain View Art & Wine Festival features the works of 600 artists, music, artisan food, kids games, wine tasting, an international cheese market and Italian string ensemble.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday

Where: Castro Street between El Camino Real and Evelyn Avenue, Mountain View

Cost: Free



Crawly hikes

What: Find hairy, harmless tarantulas crawling the mountain on an easy 3-mile walk. There will be a quick spider talk, and along the way, scorpions, owls and bats can also be spotted. Reservations are required.

When: 5-8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center, 96 Mitchell Canyon Road, Clayton

Cost: Free



Waterfront party

What: Cornhole, bocce ball, croquet – play all sorts of lawn games at the third annual San Francisco Lawn Party. The massive event includes music, gourmet food trucks and Lagunitas Brewing Co. beer.

When: Noon-5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Marina Green Park, San Francisco

Cost: $40



Travel talk

What: Wayne Wirtanen of International Travel News will discuss when you should buy travel insurance at the No Reservations Travel Club meeting.

When: 7 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Arcade Library Community Room, 2443 Marconi Ave., Sacramento

Cost: Free

Information: (916) 457-1426;

Bee staff